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Anderson’s agent: Coach negotiating new deal with MU

Other sources say Arkansas still in the running

The agent for Missouri coach Mike Anderson says Anderson is negotiating a new contract with the school amid continued reports Arkansas is trying to lure him away.

Jimmy Sexton told Memphis radio station WHBQ-AM Tuesday morning “we’ve been in discussion with them for several weeks now.”

Sexton is a Memphis resident whose firm also represents several ACC, SEC and NFL coaches, including Alabama football coach Nick Saban and Rex Ryan of the New York Jets. He added while “nothing is imminent” he expects “some resolution ... in the next few days.”

His comments came as University of Missouri curators, who must approve any changes to Anderson’s existing seven-year, $10.85 million deal, met for a second day at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. After their public session ended Tuesday morning, the group of political appointees remained behind closed doors for more than five hours discussing unspecified personnel matters.

Sexton didn’t mention any negotiations with Arkansas, which began a search for a coach March 13 when Razorbacks Athletic Director Jeff Long announced the firing of John Pelphrey. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported unnamed sources saying Long was in the process Tuesday of contacting his Missouri counterpart, Mike Alden, to obtain permission to talk with Anderson, as is stipulated in the contract extension Anderson signed with Missouri in 2009.

Interim MU president Steve Owens declined to discuss Anderson’s contract other than to offer a general statement of support. The Columbia Daily Tribune reported Alden also attended the meeting in Rolla, which is nearly 100 miles from the flagship campus.

Alden rarely attends curator meetings outside Columbia. He, too, declined to discuss the status of his men’s basketball coach.

Anderson, who was hired by Missouri in 2006 after four years at Alabama-Birmingham, led Missouri to a 23-11 record and its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance — albeit with a first-game NCAA defeat and five losses in the team’s final six games in a season that began with far more promise.

In 2009, he parlayed a school-record 31 wins, a Big 12 Conference tournament title and an appearance in the NCAA regional final into a contract extension and $500,000 annual raise. That revised contract pays Anderson a base annual salary of $1.35 million plus another $200,000 a year should he remain in Columbia another two years. Additional deferred compensation is available if he stays at Missouri for the duration of his seven-year deal.

He turned down an offer to coach at Georgia in 2009 for more than $2 million annually and was also mentioned as a candidate at Memphis.

One year later, Anderson rejected a similarly hefty raise and a job offer to coach Oregon. The latest potential suitor is Arkansas, where Anderson spent 17 years as an assistant under Nolan Richardson and helped his mentor win the 1994 national championship.

Arkansas fired Pelphrey as its coach on March 13. Pelphrey was 69-59 in four seasons with the Razorbacks. Several media outlets in Arkansas and Oklahoma have linked Anderson to the job. As is his custom by now, Anderson has only said he is happy at Missouri but hasn’t struck down what he repeatedly refers to as “rumors.”

Anderson’s looming contract extension could put the fundraising prowess of Alden and Missouri’s athletics department to the test. Missouri’s athletic director has previously said the school is also putting the finishing touches on a new deal for football coach Gary Pinkel, who earns roughly $2.5 million annually in a contract that was last revised in 2008.

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